Student finds himself ‘Neck Deep’ in fame

Jenny Caulfield Creative Editor An ordinary day at Crossgates mall became a day that Keegan Graziane will remember for the rest of his life. With intentions of picking up a video game last Monday, Graziane went with a friend to an empty Crossgates mall. While walking around waiting to collect his video game, the second-year computer science major ended up running into one of his favorite musicians around the food court. “I was in so much disbelief that it was actually him,” said Graziane.

courtesy of Keegan GrazlaneCourtesy of Keegan Grazlane

The musician, Ben Barlow, is the frontman for the UK pop-punk band, Neck Deep, who will be performing next month with State Champs at Upstate Concert Hall. Graziane has been a fan of the band for about three years, making this experience special for him. “Me and my friend walked by him and at first we didn’t think it was him,” said Graziane. After exchanging glances with who appeared to be Barlow, Graziane watched him go into Zumiez where he purchased a skateboard. “I didn’t want to follow him cause I didn’t want to bother him and make a big deal about it,” said Graziane. After watching Barlow leave Zumiez, he saw him get in line at the Taco Bell in the food court and sit down with his food. Thinking it would be a good time to introduce himself, Graziane found the courage to sit down with the musician. “I knew I would regret it if I just let [meeting] him go, so I walked over and introduced myself,” he said. After talking with Barlow, Graziane discovered he was in the area checking the production, gear and other items to prepare for their show at Upstate Concert Hall next month. Barlow and Graziane also covered different topics from music to food. “We talked about Taco Bell for a bit and the new item they had,” he said. Graziane has dreams of being a musician himself, which was one of many reasons he likes the band. Meeting Barlow allowed for Graziane to have a hands-on experience meeting someone in the field he wishes to enter. “At the end of the day, they’re just normal people, but that’s what I ultimately would like to do and to talk to someone who is doing what I would like to be doing is very cool for me,” he said. After posting a photo of himself with Barlow at Taco Bell on a popular facebook group called “The Defend Pop-Punk Group”, Graziane received almost 2,000 likes on his photo. “Many people commented on it saying how cool it was and being very nice about it,” he said. Graziane left with a photo of him and Barlow in front of the Taco Bell sign and a memory that will last a lifetime. “I’m going to be seeing them on their upcoming tour so I’m going to say hi to him and maybe he’ll remember our little Taco Bell talk,” he said.

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